back to article Bloggers spring 'baccy happy landlord from slammer

Just occasionally the blogosphere can be about more than just hot air – as it proved today by raising over £10,000 to pay off the fine of pub landlord Nick Hogan and to bring about his release from prison. Meanwhile, a score of 'nul points' to Paypal for its rigid adherence to its in-house rules, which meant that Hogan spent …

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Pint

Before the deluge

Before the smokers start ranting, you are still a minority.

No the smoking ban is not solely responsible for the number of pubs closing.

I for one would be deeply upset if pubs returned to their unpleasant, smelly, past.

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Yes! Down with this sort of thing!

Well said! And the sooner that it is stamped out outside pubs (perhaps a 20km exclusion zone from the front door might be in order?) so that people inside the pub who are near the front doors don't strain their precious vocal chords having to pointedly cough and whine every time they get a whiff of smoke from outside where all the smokers are huddled in the rain? In fact, let's ban it outside everywhere, and if a person has a smoke at home, they must shut the windows!

And beer gardens!! Get rid of them. As soon as there aren't any, then we won't have smokers going into one for a smoke. Think of the children who could be harmed by a smoker being in a beer garden at 10pm???!!???

Being serious though, I *really* don't understand why it isn't "landlord choice". There is a clear market for smoking establishments and for non-smoking ones - look how well Wetherspoons pubs did when they banned smoking before the general ban came in. It would cater for everyone, and landlords would be free to set up smoking / non-smoking pubs based on their clientele and personal preference. If you don't want to be in a smoking pub, you go to a non-smoking one, and vice versa. Even if government gave a tax break / other incentive to "encourage" pubs to be non-smoking rather than smoking, there would still be a market for each. And it would stop some town centre pubs having more people crowded round their front door than there are inside.

Ah, but then - that would allow people to make their own decisions. And would deprive a vocal number of non/ex smokers from being able to crow about their "victory" that they've achieved by introducing oppression of "a minority" (as you describe smokers) into legislation.

Yes, smoking is a choice. So's religion (and, some people would say, sexuality), and there's laws against discriminating on that basis.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Yes! Down with this sort of thing!

If you're seriously inferring that smokers should have the same rights as gay people... wait, I think you've done that before, haven't you? Well, it's as valid today as it's ever been!

Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.

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It's the gay smokers I'm worried about

Imagine that.

But yeah, the ability to choose what you do and which pub you go to, it's hard to imagine how that's suddenly a bad thing.

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Inferring?

Are you sure that shouldn't be "implying"?

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Anonymous Coward

*grin*

"wait, I think you've done that before, haven't you?"

May-be....

I can go to a gay bar if I like (apart from one in Leeds where the bouncer wouldn't let me in cos I'm straight), why can't we have smoker bars for people who follow that lifestyle? And we can get the bouncers to refuse to let in non-smokers, even if they're with some smokers and their best friend is a smoker?

*runs away*

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WTF?

Here's a though, Sarah.

Maybe EVERYONE should have the same rights. You know, smokers, gay people, women, black people, etc. etc. We are rapidly approaching a state where we have laws explicitly banning discrimination against specific groups, whereas the ideal should surely be to ban discrimination against anyone?

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You forgot non-smokers

See title.

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@Ed

>>"Maybe EVERYONE should have the same rights. You know, smokers, gay people, women, black people, etc. etc. "

I thought that being non-white, or female or gay was just that - it's what people *are*, not something they *do*.

Meanwhile, being a smoker is like being a drummer. There are times and places where the act is OK, and times and places where it isn't, but having public places where it isn't allowed isn't necessarily some breach of fundamental human rights.

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Agree....

I have to do more than click the "thumbs-up" here. I don't smoke, but I find this sort of blanket nanny-state ban very irritating.

And while we're at it, can we have bars/restaurants w/o the little whiny snot monkeys? I'd like a decent meal in peace, TYVM, without some crotch fruit screaming it's lungs out and all the free-range brats running around.

That's far more annoying than smoking ever was. Flame icon for how I'd like to slow-roast them.

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Yeah

... coz stale pee from the toilets mingled with BO from sweaty, overweight mules on the "dancefloor" is infinitely preferable to stale tobacco odours?

I can see the point of a smoking ban in "gastro-pubs" but the kind of sticky-floored, sweaty, tawdry rock/metal establishments I tend to frequent of a Friday night actually smelt better before the smoking ban.

Mind - since there seems to be a disproportionately high number of smokers amongst that crowd the "beer garden" (read loading/unloading yard out the back), if there is one, tends to be packed... well, when the weather's nice anyway otherwise people don't go out.

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That got a thumb down...!

Maybe by somebody very fond of their screaming meemee? Whatever, trying to eat a pleasant meal in peace with the raucous little b*stards running around makes me wish it was GTA where I could just pull out a very big gun and waste the lot of them (oh, think of the children! I am, I am, six feet under). Oh, note also the computer game reference (it wasn't me, GTA taught me), like I can evade police capture by getting my car resprayed...

Seriously, though. If you are an fail of a parent and you cannot discipline your brat to be quiet in a public place and polite to strangers (hoiking snot out of its nose while sitting *on* an unused table is *not* polite), then leave the little turd at home or with a nanny... or in the state penitentiary. Whatever. Somewhere *else*.

Remember, a child's good upbringing and behaviour does not start with legislation or schools, it starts with the parents.

Gene's post upvoted. I don't smoke, I think it is a filthy habit, but I'd rather socialise with a bunch of chainsmokers than anywhere with half a dozen unruly ankle-biters. Before you downvote me, ask yourself how these rugrats will be in their late teens...

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Anonymous Coward

Public places no longer public places.

They're non-smoker only places now, so should be reclassified as semi-public places. Common sense should have applied, but some smokers don't help by being anti-social dropping butts next to ashtrays. Government and Councils don't help much either by not placing lots of bins around, or bins that aren't suitable as ashtrays. Singapore's a good example. Large fines and punishment for littering, but lots of litter bins so there's less excuse for littering.

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@CD001

You're not talking about the Corp in Sheffield are you? Since July 2007 the inside's deserted and the loading / unloading yard is rammed to the gills.... kinda makes it being a rock club redundant when nobody can hear the damned music cos they're all outside!

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lolwut?

Well, I think he deserved everything he got, silly tit. Jail time seems a suitable punishment for some arsehole that is going to let punters have a mass "smoke-in", yeah, how big and grown up of him

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What would you expect him to do?

Should he just obey what the thieves, murderers and morons in power say?

Just because you like to do what your nanny tells you to doesn't mean the rest of us do -- some of us happen to think that loss of freedom is something which should be highlighted.

FWIW: This is not about smoking -- I'm not particularly for smoking in pubs and am actually convinced that existing legislation around things like COSH would actually be enough to make it illegal to smoke on most premises as they are. This is about the introduction of sweeping and ill though out new laws.

I may pop around your house and sit on your front doorstep smoking crack, is that OK? Do you think you should be imprisoned for it?

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Coat

sigh

Cue all the Clarkson/Littlejohn style commentards shaking like crack babies and asserting their "right" to smoke, talking about how they didn't fight in two world wars and one world cup for ZanuLieBore to tell them what to do, and.. well, you get the idea.

Save it, far angrier, more stupid and far more experienced commentards beat you to it:

http://ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com/2010/03/03/red-hot-vigilante-crimefighting/

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Smokers

How much did those smokers in his pub contribute to the fund? It was, after all, directly their fault that he ended up fined and in jail. The smoke-in was a damn stupid idea as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Not good enough

I am disgusted!. Smoking is a vile habit with unwanted health side effects!!! We need to punish people more to stamp it out!!

We need to arrest Jacqui Smith MP for failing to stamp out smoking in that pub! As head of the Home Office at the time, she had a DUTY to prevent smoking in that pub.

It's no good her pretending she wasn't there to stop it, her police made it a requirement to have CCTV present for pub landlords, so she can't pretend to be all innocent of this.

It's no good pretending she didn't have the ability. She has a huge police force under her control! There are so many policemen now in the UK, they stopped counting how many there are!

She needs to face jail time for this vile and disgusting thing that happened!

And don't take any excuses from her. (Plus tell the judge she fiddled her expenses, bad character evidence like that might sway him.)

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Anonymous Coward

Think about my children!

I welcome your calls for prison time for Jacqui Smith, my son often goes for a drink in the afternoon, and may have inhaled the evil air from these smokers, causing inoperable lung cancer!

SHE KILLED MY BABY BOY!

I am completely against killing of babies boys, therefore HER BABIES SHOULD BE EXECUTED to teach her a lesson. It's the only way to teach these people that smoking is bad and just because they don't smoke and are not present to stop it, IT IS NO EXCUSE!

She was given the job as Home Secretary to stamp this out, and she failed to take the necessary steps!

We should also get laws NOW, that make it a crime to possess material that glorifies smoking!

What about extreme movies?, during the 60's and 70's there were movies where the actors smoked and pretended to be cool, sick sick movies! Possession of these extreme movies needs to be a criminal offence!

Modern movies are censored when it comes to smoking, if they don't have BBFC certification and contain vile smoking, then it's only right and proper that the person possessing the movie be locked up in prison and the key thrown away!!

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/film-censors-target-smoking-and-drinking-on-screen-to-protect-childrens-health-732034.html

Thus we can crack down on this propaganda, and every right minded person should agree with me! On penalty of death!

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Anonymous Coward

Sir, I am shocked

I am shocked that you call for the killing of Jacqui Smiths babies, truly shocked. Such infantile response to a very real problem only shows you as the commentard you are! It is a real problem, why only yesterday the local multi-screen was showing a movie in which a lead character .... took out and cigarette, and LIT it!

Surely it should not stop at Jacqui Smiths babies?

We must also demand the death of the first born child of the movie theatre owner for daring to show PASSIVE VIEWING OF SMOKING!

I think in this particular case, it is necessary that we kill someone related to someone else who shows a movie that might promote something which may cause someone to do that something which may in turn slightly increase the risk of death of a person nearby!

Am I alone in thinking this???

And what about the people who saw that movie and are now tainted? Some sort of small nuclear device is needed to remove the taint!!

Normally I'm against uncontrolled fission in confined areas, but I see no other alternative!

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Well

A "landlord" in this sense - a bar owner - is only a local government licensed drug dealer, anyway. They sell ethanol, I don't know or care if they can still sell combustible nicotine products... it's a mixed blessing having one as a neighbour.

I assume that the sign saying "It is an offence to permit smoking" in the bus shelter doesn't oblige me to challenge the heavyweight boxer who lights up next to me, but that's my excuse, not mine host's.

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Anonymous Coward

Say it ain't so

"Paypal appears to have just one man in Dublin competent to deal with issues of this kind"

Oh? They have even one competent employee? How interesting. Could a trend be forming or is it just a fluke?

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Screwed..... good and proper

And does anyone know if what this little video tells us, is true? ........ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9wFD8TBvbQ&feature=player_embedded ....... and if so, why?

And do you agree that it should be so allowed?

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Big Brother

Oh it's true enough I'm afraid...

For those who cannot view the link, it is a You Tube clip showing MPs smoking in one of the bars at the Palace of Westminster after the smoking ban was made law.

The Palace of Westminster is exactly that.... a Royal Palace that just happens to be where the Lords and the Commons sit to discuss and debate the issues of the day.

In essence, this means it is technically a place of residence and therefore exempt under the Health Act 2006.

It is covered by the example of Home Help.... a home carer may be at their place of work when looking after someone in their own house, but it is also a place of residence. The person who resides is perfectly entitled to smoke in their own home, even if it is someone elses place of work.

in other words, MPs have co-opted and gone against the spirit of the law, rules and regulations for their own personal gains..... who'd have thought it

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Paypal stick to the law

And investigate suspected money laundering. They will have had to report it to the SFO who will investigate and then OK the payment. The person you refer to will probably be the paypal money laundering officer who, by law, would not be aloud to say anything until after the SFO have done their job.

I can see how it would look like intergration of the money.

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Pint

Debtors prison

Nice touch.

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Anonymous Coward

Should still be in the nick

HE was fined, ergo he should do the time and then still have to pay the fine.

HE was the twit who decided that breaking the smoking ban was big and clever, would he garner so much sympathy if he was allowing drinkers to smoke crack and heroin in his bar? no didn't think so either.

If the govt had any cajones they would outlaw the sale of tobacco and make it a class B or A drug based on its harm potential and its addictiveness.

I might have more sympathy for pubs if they showed some sort of responsibility and more frequently told their patrons that they had had enough instead of letting them get paralytic.

A good start would be a requirement for a responsible service of alcohol certificate as per many areas of Australia, good for pubs as they get staff who are trained to deal with drunks, good for those who live near pubs as a reduction in trouble, and also good for responsible publicans as irresponsible bars get closed down.

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Anonymous Coward

Should still be in the nick

HE was the twit who decided that breaking the ban on fun was big and clever, would he garner so much sympathy if he was allowing drinkers to smoke crack and heroin in his bar? no didn't think so either!

If the govt had any cajones they would outlaw fun and make it a class B or A offence for its addictiveness alone!

I might have more sympathy for pubs if they showed some sort of responsibility and more frequently told their patrons that they had had enough fun instead of letting them get paralytic.

A good start would be a requirement for a responsible service of alcohol certificate as per many areas of Australia, good for pubs as they get staff who are trained to deal with drunks, good for those who live near pubs as a reduction in trouble, and also good for responsible publicans as irresponsible bars get closed down.

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FAIL

Yes, Mike...

Nanny knows best.

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Boffin

Drop the exemption for Hazchem warnings?

Apparently tobacco is exempt from having hazchem warning symbols on its packaging that would otherwise be required for the substances it contains -- I read that it would be 25 warnings, including 9 "do not smoke in the vicinity of this substance".

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Unhappy

smack and crack

"HE was the twit who decided that breaking the smoking ban was big and clever, would he garner so much sympathy if he was allowing drinkers to smoke crack and heroin in his bar?"

just to go down this route..

as long as the people smoking crack or heroin had bought it with their own money - not nicked, not the proceeds of crime etc. and leave peacefully without disturbing or harming others, I don't really care what they do.

there are other laws against theft, robbery, mugging, fraud etc.

there are other laws against assault, abh, gbh etc.

those (should) cover all thje possible effects on other people (as per the above comments relating to "if you want to smoke inside, live somewhere else" well.. if you don't want to, then go somewhere else, same argument in reverse applies) so, as far as I'm concerned they can do what they want.

as for the NHS having to pick up the bill... they are in a PUB! it will already be picking up the bill for their drinking.

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Anonymous Coward

might agree with you but

my street is littered with crack and smack heads, as currently my street again gets to be the dumping ground.

What do they do - steal, fight, murder, commit arson etc and when they get caught "Its mah addiction to ra drugs man, ah cant help ma self"

Smackheads are a pain in the arse and a bullet to the head of them would be a service to society.

Kids shouldn't have to dodge hypodermic syringes lying in the street and their garden, my disabled wife shouldn't have to worry about falling and pricking herself with a syringe or being mugged by some drugged up ned chasing a fix.

I USED to oppose the death penalty, I'm now heavily in favour of it for Cat A drugs possession, very few of them want to be clean, very few of them could be rehabilitated, most of them are lazy, thieving scum who would kill their own grandmother (and have done) for 10p towards the cost of a fix. There is still a Gallows in Portsmouth I think which still works.

The council here had the opportunity for a site which could have been used as a halfway house to house the muppets away from everyone else and make it easier for the police to locate the useless scum, instead in the middle of a housing market crash they designated it for large volume housing and allowed the developer to bulldoze said buildings into rubble so we now have another eyesore instead of a solution possibly to some of the problems.

My view sounds harsh, but I'm sick of dealing with these arsewipes and sick of seeing my wife constantly on edge. Heroin possession is a crime, therefore lock them up, and keep them locked up, or hang them. As several cops have told me, crime skyrockets when certain people get out of the nick and drops when they go back inside.

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For your consideration.

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps these people claim that the the drugs control them because these people know that they live in a society which would rather blame the drugs than the people who abuse them; thus, that there are people gullible enough to believe them?

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Headmaster

So ... ?

"Andy Norman ... will be ... facing the charge of "permiting the use of cannabis on his premises" – even though no charges for the alleged offence were ever brought"

That's not uncommon, nor unreasonable, nor unfair.

The landlord and the punters committed separate offences and each should be dealt with in the most appropriate way. Obviously the police decided the punter's offence was minor enough not to bring charges but the landord's offence was significant enough to do so.

This is similar to the police grabbing dealers and users and letting the users go and prosecuting the dealer.

Police proportionality and reasonableness is to be welcomed, but it is not a 'get out jail free card'. There's also an issue of 'in the public interest' and whether prosecution would be successful or achieve anything.

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FAIL

Wow......

If you commentards are anything to go by, I'd think that that El Reg has been hijacked by the Daily Mail

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Wow......

You're new here, aren't you?

I was going to tell you all that I intend to be strict in moderating this thread which I feel like I've been moderating in one form or another since the very dawn of civilisation, but ach, what's the use? You can all fight amongst yourselves and try to out-smug each other with your trite analogies and pulled-from-arse figures. I shall simply continue to drink tea.

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Anonymous Coward

No, see

Not many Mail readers here in the IT crowd. Your problem is that you assume everyone is as authoritarian and intolerant as you.

Smoke and let smoke.

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Happy

Pulled from arse figures?

93.79% of statistics are made up on the spot...

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civilization?

I'd hazard a guess people were smoking whatever they could get their hands on long before the dawn of civilization, however the debate of the evils of smoking versus the evils of an overbearing state apparatus ramming social engineering and nouveau-puritanism down people's craws might be a tad more recent. No analogies from me, no arse-figures - but certainly no-one ever forced me to goto, drink in, piss in, work in or smoke in a smoking pub and I sincerely doubt it was ever done to anyone else here either.

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@Before the deluge

Well? I see no rants from we smokers. I see several comments from non-smokers. Perhaps we smokers are mature enough not to rise to bait and also able to make up our own minds.

I do have issues with this illegality thing however. In my opinion, if a landlord of a licenced premise clearly advertises outside of his premise that smoking is indeed allowed within and he staffs the bar him/herself. (no staff to harm), then why in hells bells isn't smoking allowed within?

Surely this is very closely aligned to the opt-in/opt-out arguments we see so often within the Reg.

We only wish to indulge in the legal activity of smoking within a convivial atmosphere surrounded by consenting adults. If you don't wish to join us, then don't. Easy peasy.

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Pint

If you don't wish to join us, then don't

If I don't wish to join you then I am excluded from my own local. A place I happen to enjoy all the more for it being smoke free.

Opt-in/opt-out is a non-argument. Pubs had that choice before the ban, but the economic arguments for banning smoking will put any pub that does at a disadvantage until all pubs are smoke free.

>Well? I see no rants from we smokers.

Then I suggest you look more closely.

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WTF?

Whuh ?

"strong commercial impetus to the case for ID cards"

Well, apart from the pre-existing government proof of age scheme, the one with a third the upfront cost, no stupid database and no requirement to keep the government updated about you for life...

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Stop

Nick Hogan is a tit

I know him and he likes to think, and this article paints him, as a Robin Hood type when in fact he's just a rather annoying perpetual law breaker.

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Beers all round

Personally I like smoke-free pubs - but am also aware that the lack of customers is endangering the existence of many of them.

In this case it looks very much like the landlord was "made an example of" to deter others and bully them being enforcers for the State. Whether or not you agree with the smoking ban, the blogoshpere has sent a clear message to the State - such treatment is unacceptable.

A lot of Europe (which is where the smoke-free legislation orignated) have comprimise systems that work (or they just blatently ignore it). There are options that are proven to work that would give people the freedom to choose smoke-free or not. Why not let people decide for themselves ?

@Simon Bacon in the case of the people that used to frequent pubs *regularly*, I suspect that non-smokers were the minority. Now smokers have stopped going we see the result - empty pubs.

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pooper scooper

I thought fines were means tested? So if the poor bloke was bankrupt, surely the payment terms should have been made accordingly. I know that when the neds round my town punch someone in the face and stomp on them whilst they are down, they get to pay a tenner a month towards their paltry £200 fine.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Roger Jenkins

"I see no rants from we smokers"

Yes, all the ones who would rant that its an infringement of their civil liberties are too busy down voting anything that has the wisp of a non-smoking slant.

And who is to say that the comments saying he did the crime, now do the time are from non-smokers? There are many considerate smokers who agree with the ban.

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sarah

mines milk 2 sugars please..........

......and a fine cuban cigar

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FAIL

He's not a martyr

or a rebel - he's a fucking idiot.

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Pint

smoking ban generally good thing, what's the deal?

The landlord guy's an idiot for breaking the law like he did (no wonder the man went bankrupt) and therefore the 'anti-establishment' blogs have undermined themselves by supporting such a pointless cause. Landlords this stupid deserve to be locked up and in fact the court decision was probably doing society a favour by weeding out the weak links in the population. Besides, there's really no credence in being anti-establishment simply for the sake of it.

Moving on, I personally can't see a problem with landlord choice on smoking. Does anyone know what the governments argument against such an implementation was? Too complicated or expensive to administer? Can't remember....

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